Beware of Buying Skincare Products Online!

The internet has changed the American way of life in many ways.

Whether you are searching the web for the latest trends or checking which Hollywood star just tied the knot, medicine has also been effected by the latest on Web MD and various other “diagnose yourself sites.” The internet allows most patients to self-diagnose their skin type (with more than 80% misdiagnosed) and allows them access to cosmeceutical brands that can result in more harm than good if inappropriately used. Sure, patients go in for an appointment with their physician or aesthetician, but problems can arise when it’s time to purchase products. Shockingly enough, only about 30% of you ladies out there actually buy retail products from your referring physician and by the third time around its only 15%. So we ask ourselves, why is that? Studies have shown that the convenience of the internet and lower costs drive patients to make purchases off the internet instead of in office. However, the desire to save money can come with steep consequences. Many medical grade products purchased online are expired, counterfeit or are in old containers. Yikes!! Can you imagine what harm could be caused to your skin?!

Some cosmeceutical companies have reported seeing their products in sample or trade size on websites such as eBay and Amazon. When sellers were asked how they received sample size products, companies heard many responses such as “I got them at a show” or “I work at a doctor’s office and received them from our rep.” However, in more serious cases, some counterfeit products were found to have originated in other countries and made their way back to the U.S. In an article published by Fact Based Skin Care, pharmaceuticals and skin care products are among the top five types of products seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents. CBS and CNN recently ran segments on the potential of carcinogenic and harmful ingredients found in online personal care products. Are you starting to change your mind about buying products offline yet?

I know many of you are saying “Well how do I know if my products are counterfeit or not?” The FBI listed some tips for consumers to watch out for, which include: sample size products, packaging slightly different, advertised as limited edition, price is much lower, texture and smell are different, and does not contain a label. It is extremely important to remember that ingredients, especially retinol, breakdown with exposure to air, sun and heat over time. Recently, several products that have entered into the U. S. advertised as antiaging, skin lighteners, and acne treatment products have been found to contain mercury, arsenic, lead, and other harmful toxins according to the FDA. Although, the initial price of your products are lower, in the long run you can end up draining your pocket book to correct the damage caused by counterfeit products.

If you normally buy products through eBay, Amazon or even Walmart, we urge you to be careful. Purchasing medical grade products through unreliable, non-medical, third party sources can be extremely dangerous. It is our job here at Spa Medical to provide the best care for our patients, so we strongly advise that you purchase cosmeceutical products from a licensed skin care retailer. We know that the price of looking beautiful requires commitment and investment, but the long term benefit is priceless!